Do your employees know their co-pay from their FSA?
If they are like most U.S. employees, they probably lack a basic understanding of these common healthcare vocabulary terms, according to a new Watson Wyatt survey.
In its survey of nearly 2,100 covered workers, Watson Wyatt found that a top challenge for 43% of workers is understanding what their healthcare plan covers.
Just 49% are comfortable explaining what a co-pay means; 46% are comfortable explaining what a deductible means, and only 36% are comfortable defining the term “flexible spending account.”
Forget about describing health savings accounts, coinsurance, and other healthcare terms. Just 16% know the term “formulary,” while only 8% could define “center of excellence.”
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“Helping employees improve their healthcare literacy and learn the terminology can make or break a company’s healthcare efforts overall,” said Kathryn Yates, Watson Wyatt’s director of communications.
The survey notes that 52% of employees admit to reading all the materials provided by their employer during the annual healthcare enrollment process. Another 45% read only what is needed to enroll in a plan or to make changes. The remaining 3% do not read any of the materials provided.
Yates suggests that employers communicate with employees in ways that meet their needs and preferences. This might include using a mix of channels and formats to empower employees to become smarter healthcare consumers, she explains.
For example, the survey found that close to 70% of employees like to receive communication about their healthcare benefits in print. When possible, they also noted a preference to have these materials mailed to their homes.